A noise at 2 a.m., a cop and a gun
SOMEWHERE ON MAUI – This year, across the nation, actions of police officers (a title of respect) and cops (an appropriate name when they are not acting like professionals) are increasingly called into question. Could police errors or abuse occur here? Are Maui Police Department officers immune to poor judgment or drastic behavior? Not immune at all, it appears.
A friend who likes to write produced the following well-written essay that deserves space here, because it sheds poor light on our Maui Police Department.
It is 2 a.m., she writes; you have been asleep for hours and, except for your 15-year-old son sleeping in his room, you are alone. Suddenly, you hear a loud, deep voice and a banging of metal-on-metal, while simultaneously a bright light breaks your sleep.
You open your eyes, adjusting to the glare outside your sliding screen door, where the bright moonlight illuminates the frame of a large, dark male figure one foot away from your face. You focus and see a flashlight and a gun.
“Who’s there?” the figure shouts. “There’s been an accident,” he continues.
While sitting up in bed, naked from the waist up, you scream! Not sure what is happening, you consider reaching for your crowbar and toy air-soft gun kept just under your nightstand. However, realizing you are trapped, you scream again instead.
The dark figure then identifies himself as a Maui police officer. “Maybe he’s under the house,” you shakily offer, thinking he must be chasing someone.
“Who’s under the house?” the officer demands.
Between tears of fear, you whimper, “What is going on?” and “I’m scared.”
“There’s been an accident,” he states again.
“Where?” you ask, fearing your adult daughters are hurt or dead.
The officer, now appearing flustered, says, “Is that your truck out front?”
Considering you have a truck, and it is parked out front, “Yes,” you respond.
“Who is in the house with you?” he shouts.
“Just my son,” you counter, while trying to cover your nakedness.
“Does he drive that truck?” he asks.
“No, he’s only 15,” you insist.
“There’s been a hit-and-run,” he firmly declares.
“What?” you shriek, again fearing for your daughter’s life.
“A fire hydrant,” he continues.
“What the hell?” you whisper; your thoughts spinning faster than the siren lights you now notice lighting up your front windows, reminiscent of blue lightening.
“How long has your truck been parked out front?” he asks.
“Since last night,” you respond. “What is going on?” you demand, regaining your equilibrium.
“It’s… it’s the white truck, right?” he stutters, backing away.
“No, mine is blue,” you say, realizing this is a really big mistake.
“Will you meet me in the front?” he asks, backing further away and stumbling backwards down the steps of the deck outside your bedroom.
You pull on your robe and walk through the dark house. Moving past your son’s closed bedroom door, you are grateful he was excluded from this experience.
Cautiously, you open the front door and see two additional squad cars joining the blue whirling lights spinning in unison.
Parked on the street in front of your house, you see a wrecked, yet familiar, neighbor’s old white truck. Relief and anger hold you in equal measure. From your front porch, robe wrapped tight, you point to the south and say, “He’s four doors down.”
Turning to run to the correct house, the officer looks back and says, “Sorry to scare you; thanks for the help, Ma’am!”
The writer wondered about the safety of citizens in the hands of all police and looked up a study, “The Abuse of Police Authority.” Some 76 percent of police departments, she read, are guilty of abuse of power and non-adherence to public safety standards, according to the study.
In other words, we need more good police officers and fewer bad cops.
Columnist’s Notebook: The essay writer prefers to remain anonymous. In a future column, she will report on another police incident and how police responded.